Two more women — a former NDP staffer and Dauphin radio reporter — have come forward alleging former cabinet minister Stan Struthers inappropriately touched and tickled them.
The women reached out after CBC published a story Thursday morning where five women alleged they were subjected to unwanted touching by the former finance minister.
Shannon VanRaes was working as rural outreach coordinator for the NDP in 2010 when she says an encounter with Struthers on a plane trip to Dauphin left her “horrified.”
Paige Jeffrey was a radio reporter in Dauphin — Struthers’s longtime constituency — when Struthers cornered her and tickled her, leaving her “shocked.” She says never spoke of the incident until now for fear of retribution from the community.
The new allegations come as Manitoba New Democrat Leader Wab Kinew told media Thursday his party “deserved to lose the last election” in response to the claims.
Kinew said the party will launch a commission into the allegations, which the women say went on for years. They say Struthers’s touching was an open secret during his time in office.
“It looks like we failed not just one person, but many people over many years,” Kinew said during a news conference held Thursday afternoon, after CBC first reported the allegations.
“And I want to apologize for that and say it is not right.”
Former staffer recalls 2 incidents
VanRaes recalls the exact day she says she was first touched by Struthers — April 6, 2010.
They were en route to a hemp announcement when Struthers was the agriculture minister.
“As soon as we boarded the plane, as soon as we were in the air he began asking me if I was ticklish. I said no, and he immediately began attempting to grope me. He put his hand up my skirt. I said no,” she said.
She says she had to sit through the entire press event and then board a plane back with him to Winnipeg.
“I again had to tell him that I was not…